Jump to content
  • 0
Song Whybrow

what kind of computer to buy for SL in 2017?

Question

Now that it's 2017, and we have mesh, and Bento, SL is beating up my imac.  It's time for a new computer that really CRUISES in SL.  I want to be able to see long draw distance, high or even ultra graphics, be able to actually go to highly attended SL affairs without freezing up or crashing, and battle some with swords.  I like FS, but it's too rich for my poor old imac even in low+ graphics settings and 15m draw.  My SL has been sucking lately, as you can see.  I like a mac, but I might want to save money and bite the bullet to go PC.  I'd need a huge support staff just to navigate the inner workings of a PC, having lived in blissfully ignorant mac land for 20 years.  Give me your best PC AND mac recommendations!  
     I see old entries from 2013 about what computers people recommend, but I need some up to date and specific advice for my purchase.  THANKS!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

20 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 2

Chin Rey's answer may sound vague, but it's really spot on.  Here's why:

  • A desktop computer at a given performance level will be cheaper than a laptop of the same performance level.
  • Desktops have better cooling than laptops, and SL tends to put a hefty load on your computer, especially your graphics card.
  • Desktops can be upgraded with better graphics, a few years down the road.
  • Pretty much any late model desktop computer will have enough power in the CPU and RAM to run Second Life.  The key component is the graphics card.
  • Chin's suggestion of a GeForce 1080 Ti will give you nearly the top of the line, without paying nearly twice as much for the absolute top end hardware.
  • Nvidia cards tend to work better than others with SL, since they pay more attention to good performance with OpenGL.  However, a top-end AMD/ATI Radeon card will also work.

I would also suggest that your new computer have a solid state drive for programs and for your SL cache(s).  The SATA 3 versions are fast and not too dear for up to about 512 GB.  If you can afford it, SSDs with the newer M.2 interface are even faster.  If money is no object, get two and combine them in a RAID for even more speed.  However, don't even think about adding a second graphics card and ganging them together...SL can't make use of the extra graphics muscle of these configurations.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1

And get a nice big monitor.  There's no point in having a great graphics card if you have a crummy display.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1

Not a bad thought, richard, but the OP did ask for something that "really cruises."  SL will run, sort of, on surprisingly modest systems, but it takes a really good graphics card to make it "cruise" on Ultra settings and long draw distances.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
49 minutes ago, richardsinclair3666 said:

is there a section on dealing with griefing attacks and what to expect from devil incarnate mischief makers.

Yes.

The best advice continues to be Mr. Miyagi's:  "Best defence ... not be there."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
On 6/24/2017 at 7:43 PM, Lindal Kidd said:

Chin Rey's answer may sound vague, but it's really spot on.  Here's why:

  • A desktop computer at a given performance level will be cheaper than a laptop of the same performance level.
  • Desktops have better cooling than laptops, and SL tends to put a hefty load on your computer, especially your graphics card.
  • Desktops can be upgraded with better graphics, a few years down the road.
  • Pretty much any late model desktop computer will have enough power in the CPU and RAM to run Second Life.  The key component is the graphics card.
  • Chin's suggestion of a GeForce 1080 Ti will give you nearly the top of the line, without paying nearly twice as much for the absolute top end hardware.

 

For the most part, I agree with what Lindal stated. I'm looking for a decent desktop, either upper end refurbished or new from the box (I prefer new from the box but have to be real on cost).

5 hours ago, richardsinclair3666 said:

Please, we are not all millionaires. That Graphics card described above is far too expensive and the information is good but a tad pricey.

Looking at prices for a GeForce 1080, at one website (Newegg) prices between $642.00 - $1399.00 which brings me to an obvious question: Is it recommended to purchase a good used (gently operated) GeForce 1080 or similar?. Yes I know that some people have this bitcoin thing going and have been known to return "defective" product which more or less, might be placed back on the shelf for a future sale. This could be compared to the radio being worth more than the car.

Is there a less expensive alternate that can be suggested? I've grown accustomed to AMD graphics in my laptop. Sure the graphics can't be changed in a lappy, but I have kept it as up to date as I can. With a GOOD desktop with 3.30Ghz and 8 gigs of ram (upgradable to 16), from what I have gathered, a good replaceable graphics card will run circles around my current set up.

I'm shooting for a March 1 drop dead date to be up and running.

Edited by Jerilynn Lemon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Graphic card prices for desktop computers are way blown up these days beyond any sanity and sadly, there's no hint of them dropping to proper levels anytime soon.
The price increase is especially painful in the "standard gamer range", so to speak, hitting hard in the RX 580 / GTX 1060 range. AMD Vega cards are pretty much non-exisiting on the market, GTX 1070 and 1070ti cards are usually that expensive that they're almost at the same level as a GTX 1080. 
The higher end and the low end ranges are less drastically affected, you might say, but still, overall, it's a very depressing situation for graphic card purchases these days, first hand and second hand.
 

Tomorrow, reviews and benchmarks of AMD's Ryzen 5 2400G shall hit the hardware pages. It features an integrated graphic chip of the Vega 11 kind, which is roughly supposed to match a dedicated graphics card on a RX 550 / GT 1030 level. That's why it may turn out as an ideal setup for low end and casual gaming, counting in SL, with fast RAM and a proper mainboard.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

It's truly sad. I bought my 1070GTX from NewEgg a year ago for just a little under $400. Today's price is ridiculous.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
8 hours ago, Jerilynn Lemon said:

For the most part, I agree with what Lindal stated. I'm looking for a decent desktop, either upper end refurbished or new from the box (I prefer new from the box but have to be real on cost).

Looking at prices for a GeForce 1080, at one website (Newegg) prices between $642.00 - $1399.00 which brings me to an obvious question: Is it recommended to purchase a good used (gently operated) GeForce 1080 or similar?. Yes I know that some people have this bitcoin thing going and have been known to return "defective" product which more or less, might be placed back on the shelf for a future sale. This could be compared to the radio being worth more than the car.

Is there a less expensive alternate that can be suggested? I've grown accustomed to AMD graphics in my laptop. Sure the graphics can't be changed in a lappy, but I have kept it as up to date as I can. With a GOOD desktop with 3.30Ghz and 8 gigs of ram (upgradable to 16), from what I have gathered, a good replaceable graphics card will run circles around my current set up.

I'm shooting for a March 1 drop dead date to be up and running.

If you like AMD graphics cards, they can certainly be used for SL.  I'm an NVIDIA girl from way back, and the GeForce cards tend, on balance, to pay more attention to OpenGL, which is what SL uses.  As a result, there have been more reports of driver-vs-SL issues with the AMD cards.  But they DO work well with SL, most of the time, for most people.  I would not say no to one, if you find a decent price and it's what you love.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
13 hours ago, Rolig Loon said:

It's truly sad. I bought my 1070GTX from NewEgg a year ago for just a little under $400. Today's price is ridiculous.

Found this online while looking for a good graphics card. It seems to explain why cards are so fricken expensive these days.

https://www.ultragamerz.com/nvidia-wants-retailers-to-stop-selling-gpus-to-miners/

12 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

If you like AMD graphics cards, they can certainly be used for SL.  I'm an NVIDIA girl from way back, and the GeForce cards tend, on balance, to pay more attention to OpenGL, which is what SL uses.  As a result, there have been more reports of driver-vs-SL issues with the AMD cards.  But they DO work well with SL, most of the time, for most people.  I would not say no to one, if you find a decent price and it's what you love.

I am open to either AMD or GeForce. I just don't wish to pay $900 for a previously priced $400 card. I understand supply and demand, but let's be serious, I'll keep my eyes open for a reasonable price that offers some good bang for the buck, be it AMD or GeForce.

Edited by Jerilynn Lemon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
On 11.2.2018 at 4:11 AM, richardsinclair3666 said:

Please, we are not all millionaires. That Graphics card described above is far too expensive and the information is good but a tad pricey.

Oh yes, I know that but as Lindal said, the OP didn't mention anything about budget.

You want a NVIDIA card because that is the only brand that is compatible with SL's software. Linden Lab does list several ATI cards as suitable for SL but that's only because they are lying. You can manage with ATI or even Intel (I have to do that myself because I believed in LL's lies) but there are so many compatibility problems you really don't want to handle.

Beyond that, the mosty powerful gpu you can afford.

 

On 11.2.2018 at 4:11 AM, richardsinclair3666 said:

My G card is.........GTX 650................ It is good for building but not good in a crowded or mesh filled sim.

Just comment there: well made and optimized mesh is generally less render heavy than prims and always less than sculpts. But of course, most of the mesh you see in SL is anything but well made and optimized and then it can get very render heavy indeed.

Edited by ChinRey
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
2 hours ago, ChinRey said:

You want a NVIDIA card because that is the only brand that is compatible with SL's software.

/me glances down to the shiny lights reflecting from the glass side panel of her machine, "You heard that? Cease to function immedately, dear RX 480! How dare you putting up no problems in daily SL? Just like your predecessor, the HD 7950, did."

... 'k, joke aside:

Your knowledge in other regards is greatly appreciated, but that claim - along with the bit of granting Intel chips a graphic "card" status - is simply false.

Nvidia had their own fair shares with driver incompabilities just as much as AMD had. Yet so far, I'm not aware of anything unfixable on either end. 
AMD was upfront about it that they dropped support of the quite outdated OpenGL resources that SL uses, in favour of focusing on current versions. However, Nvidia isn't actively optimizing for old resources either. 
It simply still functions.

And to put the final icing coat on the cake: ATI was bought over a decade ago. It's AMD ever since. If one's graphic card still has a plain ATI tag on it, it might be an idea to replace it with something less ancient.
... probably my major pet peeve in the Firestorm support group, the support staff saying, "get the current driver for your ATI card" 9_9 ...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
36 minutes ago, Lillith Hapmouche said:

And to put the final icing coat on the cake: ATI was bought over a decade ago. It's AMD ever since.

I know that, but apparently Linden Lab doesn't. The System Requirements page still refers to them as ATI.

 

39 minutes ago, Lillith Hapmouche said:

along with the bit of granting Intel chips a graphic "card" status - is simply false.

Again, blame LL's system requirements page, not me although neither of us used the word graphics card. ;) (Digression: Intel is actually making yet another go at graphics cards these days. It'll be interesting to see if they will succeed this time.)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Actually, the system requirements page is in so far correct as that all listed cards were released under the ATI label. That naming didn't change to AMD retrospectively. It also says "Intel chipset".
I'm not certain, but I believe that any mention of Windows 10 was missing for the longest time, though it's now included.
So in theory, that page isn't incorrect. It's just ... listing very old parts (which do seem to still be in use among a certain userbase percentage).

But anyway, LL's page didn't come up with that quoted suggestion, which sounds like a definite "you must get this, otherwise, it won't work at all and remember that I told you so!". And that's simply not true.

As for Intel's new integrated graphic unit: Intel to Create new 8th Generation CPUs with AMD Radeon Graphics with HBM2 using EMIB ?


Plus, last but not least, after going through the first load of reviews today: the new Ryzen 3 2200G APU appears as an amazing "bestest of best bang for your few bucks" option with its CPU performance paired with the power of the Vega 8 graphics. Casual gaming for a cheap OEM system? Sure... well... likely. Certain brands will mess it up with their poor choices of preconfigured RAM.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

@ richardsinclair3666 - I do hardware stuff with a spin for use in SL. See: http://blog.nalates.net/category/hardware/

A major problem with video cards is the demand for cards for Bitcoin mining and management. I've seen US$600 NVIDIA cards going for $1,200 and up. I did see Bitcoin prices correcting. So, we may see video card prices return to their normal price patterns, but I'm not holding my breath.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

This thread is physcially painful to read.

Protip, and I'm not directing this at any one person, if you are not 100% positive you know what you're talking about, don't talk about it.

I see a lot of talk on the technical forums here using anecdotal evidence and outdated information about hardware for SL. Like that whole "only nvidia will work for SL".

The system requirements page for SL is a joke that needs to be re-done, its a literal relic from the mid 2000's, noted by the use of "ATI" and referencing 3D acellerator cards from the late 90's.

This is an old thread, but whatever. You don't need much to run SL smoothly, pretty much any mid tier system from the last decade is fairly capable. I play on 12+ year old hardware and SL still runs pretty good in 1080p at medium settings.

Something like the basic quad core and a mid tier GPU will handle SL just fine, going higher end leads you to the land of diminishing returns, when the 70$ G4560 gets you 3fps less than the 400$ 8700k...

Ryzen 3 1200 or Pentium G4560, 8gb of ddr4, a compatible motherboard with a chipset that allows for future upgrades (B350 for AM4, Z270 for LGA 1151, though if you don't want to overclock, A320 for AM4 or B250 for 1151 are fine), a decent GPU like a GTX 1050ti or RX 560.

Alternative with GPUs is to go a little older, GTX 750ti, 760, 770 or 950, 960 are great performers and can be found cheap used online.

Note that older AMD cards are super power hungry, so make sure your system is up to the task of powering them, HD 7970, 7790 and 7770 are decently powerful cards, but are very high wattage, they can be found for super cheap used. Same with the R9 270x, 280, 280x and 290.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Since I owned a HD 7950 for the longest time and assuming that people looking at such basic advice won't be die-hard overclockers: a good quality power supply in the 450 to 500w range will be perfectly fine for those cards. 
For the R9 290 / 390 cards, something around 500w would be sufficient. 

Sadly, barely anything concerning graphics is cheap right now. Or available after all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Looking in some months later...

I just built a system using a Ryzen 2400G. Micro Center sells them for $110 (including the $30 discount if you also buy a motherboard, and you'll need one so it's fair to include it), making it a cheap step up from the 2200G which they sell for $80. I have it coupled with 16GB of DDR4-3200 because I want the extra RAM for other uses; 8GB would be enough if I were just going to use it for SL. You DO want fast memory with an APU and you want a dual channel setup; the APU loves to have lots of memory bandwidth so it's worth paying the small premium for DDR4-3200. (But keep in mind that you won't be able to use an A320 motherboard with most of that memory because it requires the use of an XMP profile.)

My hope for this system was that it would be a cheap and cheerful one for running SL at moderate graphics settings and not heating up the room - advanced lighting and AA but no shadows. Once I figured out that I needed to reconfigure the BIOS to set aside 2GB or more RAM for graphics it started to sing. With the 16GB RAM I'm using 4GB for video; with 8GB RAM I would use 2GB for video. (With 4GB I'd wait until I bought another 4GB.) The default on my motherboard is 1GB and that's just not enough to get full performance from the viewer. I have tested both 2GB and 4GB; not much difference between them but a HUGE difference over 1GB.

To sum up the costs:
Ryzen 5 2400G: 110
Gigabyte B450 MicroATX motherboard: 70
8GB DDR4-3200: 100 (I spent $168 for my 16GB)
256GB Intel M.2 NVMe 3.0x4 SSD: 60 (wicked good deal, even if I do feel dirty putting an Intel SSD in an AMD build!)
Case and power supply would be about 40 each if I had bought them; I reused those from an old build

So we're talking about a bit over $500 plus the cost of a Windows license. (I already had one of those lying around as well.) And you'll have to add the cost of a keyboard, mouse, and monitor if you don't already have those things.

All in all, a good showing for a system at that price, not to mention a TDP of 65W for CPU and GPU combined. The 2200G or 2400G would also be great for HTPC builds, if any of you are looking to put together one of those.

If I were building a $1000 system for SL right now it might look like this. This one should let you enable all the eye candy at 1080p unless you're in a REALLY crowded space.

Ryzen 5 2600X: 160 (Micro Center again, including the $30 discount if you buy a motherboard)
Motherboard: 70 (same as above, or perhaps splurge on a full size X470 board)
8GB RAM: 100 (or 16GB: 170 if I'm also doing content creation)
256GB SSD: 60 (same as above, or stretch to 100 or so for 500GB)
GTX 1080: 400 (they'll be there soon now that the 2000 series is about to come out, or 1070 if I really have to buy TODAY)
PS: 60 (we'll need a bigger one for this build)
Case: 40 (same as above, I'm not into flash)

Yes, over twice as much for the graphics card as the CPU. That's what it takes to get a balanced system for SL now that will give you all the eye candy. If I were cutting the budget down to $800 I'd step down to a GTX 1060 and downgrade to a Ryzen 5 2600 (no X) to save another $40. 

All out but not insane build (probably around $2500 total):

Core i7 8700K (or 8086K if I don't have to pay a ridiculous premium) - the extra cores in an i9 are worthless for SL, so this is the fastest current CPU for SL
16GB or more DDR4-3200 or faster memory - heck, buy 32GB as 2x16 so you have room for expansion later
1TB SSD (or bigger if we're feeling really luxe)
RTX 2080Ti
Motherboard, case, and power supply to match
Optional addons: spinning rust drive for bulk storage, optical drive


 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • -1

Please, we are not all millionaires. That Graphics card described above is far too expensive and the information is good but a tad pricey. A better way of HELPING would be to give a good clear guide as to what an average joe must list and go-getting from eBay.  It would be nice to see advice for 2018 desktops and laptops alike. Pluss is there a section on dealing with griefing attacks and what to expect from devil incarnate mischief makers. My G card is.........GTX 650................ It is good for building but not good in a crowded or mesh filled sim. I always use a desktop that I build my self. Plenty of memory is a must the more the merrier you will be, I only have one gig of memory on the G Card again the more the merrier.    Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. is so expensive right now. Allways get new parts from eBay and never second-hand parts, and use your head when buying. You have google to help you all the way forward.  

Edited by richardsinclair3666

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...